Thursday, July 06, 2006


“Influential”—this is the qualitative word often used by media to point out the socio-moral strength of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines. This perception appears to become more relevant when there is some conflict of concerns between the Philippine Hierarchy and the Philippine Government. Assuming for the sake of argument that the CBCP really wields some influence over the ethico-political life of the Country, the over-all question begging for an answer is why?

It would be the height of presumption for the CBCP to dare claim that it is the assembly of pious and saintly individuals, the gathering of sinless and angelic persons. It would be likewise quite incongruous for the same company of Churchmen to pretend as if is has the power of guns and the force of bullets to back its but Pastoral Statements and other doctrinal pronouncements. The Conference has not even one soldier, not one detective nor one public authority to impose its teachings, to reinforce its advisories.

What then has the CBCP that could possibly make it “influential”? At the bottom of all answers and arguments that might explain such a socio-moral strength is but one reality. It has holds and proclaims the truth drawn from Natural Law and inspired by Divine Law. It has strictly no political agenda. It bears no interest at all in having and exercising any public authority. It has not the least intention of acquiring even an iota of secular power.

The TRUTH by force of reason and in the light of faith that brings about JUSTICE and promotes PEACE—this is one and only source of the “influence” of the CBCP if any at all. The present administration may reject it. Its allies can laugh at it. Others might ridicule it. All these notwithstanding, the truth steadfastly remains and ultimately prevails. As the truth is said to neither know no party nor respect any person. It is not at all bothered by any and all contradictions. It has all the time to wait. It outs itself in the course of events. And it then sets people free.

As repeatedly said, deception can fool some people some time—but not all people all the time. This is a living lesson of human history. Liars and cheats can triumph and rule over a certain number of people in some occasions for a period of time. The can even bring about social injustice and its pursuant havoc in society. But their reign is ignominious and their days are numbered. Their primary and fundamental enemy is truth that follows their every move and ultimately fells them.

Since it formation some decades ago, the CBCP is still up and about only because it proclaims the truth about man founded on the truth about God. Its influence if any comes precisely from the durable nature and staying power of truth. To serve people with truthfulness—not to fool people with deceit—is CBCP solemn commitment and standing mission.

+O. V. CRUZ, D.D.
8 July 2006